IT IS NO SECRET that Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children are steeped in tradition. Symbols of the fraternity and traditions that built the World’s Greatest Philanthropy are proudly displayed on the sign that stands on the corner in front of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California. These symbols – the Square & Compass and the Silent Messenger – serve as reminders that the spirit of Shriners Hospitals for Children is rooted deeply in our social fabric.
Square & Compass
The Square & Compass that appears on the base of the hospital sign is the Masonic symbol. The Board of Governors at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California added the Masonic Symbol to the hospital sign in 2011 to show the link between Shriners and Masons. All Shriners are Masons, thereby members of the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. Many of our nation’s founding fathers, including George Washington, were Masons. The Masonic Order began in Europe, when Masons were organized in lodges or guilds and were taught to use tools to work in stone for construction, and evolved into an international fraternity devoted to building a better society. The Square symbolizes the belief that Masons should meet all brothers on the square – treating all alike with trustworthiness, honest and fairness. The Compass represents the Masons’ belief that it is important to define limits or circumscribe their desires. The Square & Compass symbolize tenets that transcend time and cultures.
In 1870, a group of Masons in New York City decided to expand their fraternity to include a special club devoted to fun and philanthropy. That group is now known as the Shriners. In 1920, the Shriners voted to focus all their philanthropic efforts on providing children with polio and other orthopaedic problems access to the finest medical care. The Shriner walking with a child in his arms is the Silent Messenger, and it symbolizes the Shriners’ desire to make a difference in the lives of children through expert medical care. While the image of the Silent Messenger can be found at all 22 Shriners Hospitals, its meaning goes beyond the work takes place inside Shriners Hospitals for Children. When all is said and done, the Silent Messenger stands as a symbol of shared hope and the universal desire to make the world a better place by transforming the lives of children.
Together and as one the Masons and the Shriners are working to build caring communities.
Pictured Above: Known as the Silent Messenger, the statue of the Shriner walking with a child stands above the Square & Compass, the Masonic Symbol, at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California.